Jarring notes

Rachna Singh
Saturday, 3 March 2018

Saying it musically has almost always been a foolproof strategy. Whether it’s serenading a beloved, conveying a political agenda, or trying to communicate with aliens, music is the sureshot solution.

Then, there are instances when music goes wrong. Like that time when my phone’s radio button got accidentally pressed during a funeral service and the mourning guests were treated to Sheela ki Jawani. It was the most embarrassing five seconds of my life. I wanted to crawl into the coffin myself.

Saying it musically has almost always been a foolproof strategy. Whether it’s serenading a beloved, conveying a political agenda, or trying to communicate with aliens, music is the sureshot solution.

Then, there are instances when music goes wrong. Like that time when my phone’s radio button got accidentally pressed during a funeral service and the mourning guests were treated to Sheela ki Jawani. It was the most embarrassing five seconds of my life. I wanted to crawl into the coffin myself.

Recently, at a wedding, a DJ outdid my musical disaster. The baraat had arrived to the loud, familiar notes of aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai and it was time for the groom to head to the stage for the exchange of garlands. The groom, shining in brocade and pearls, shy smile and happy face had just about started walking, friends in tow, when the DJ hit the ‘play’ button.

The song: Zindagi ka safar hai yeh kaisa safar. Like he was prompting the groom to re-consider his decision in light of the fact that life was going to suck, either which way. Well, the bride’s sister made a dash for the music console and asked him to play a song that was suitable for weddings. To which, his prompt reply was that there NO such song in his list. Maybe, he wasn’t briefed that it was a wedding he had to be at. So, fumbling facing the sister’s wrath, he hurriedly hit ‘play’ on the next song on his list: Yashomati maiyya se bole nandlala, Radha kyon gori main kyun kaala. 

The groom was now on the stage, being musically nudged to give his complexion a thought. He stood there, tentatively, perhaps considering buying a tube of male fairness cream. The sister, by now, had almost bludgeoned the DJ, and we could be looking at another funeral service, for which I had Sheela Ki Jawaani ready.

Talking of which, I remember that dark day, more than a decade back, when the Nepali crown prince, Dipendra opened gunfire on his own family, killing several family members. It was horrific! That week, we went to dine at our favourite Nepali restaurant. It was swathed in lengths of white cloth to mourn the horrible tragedy. But, again, the music undid all of that. We sat there eating Chicken Laliguras to the not-so-mellow notes of Raja ka baj gaya baaja.

(Bestselling author Rachna Singh is a sit-down comedienne)

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